The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Jenifer J. Graves, Jan Phillips-Clar, Richard Ford, Fernando Gonzalez; UCSD Medical Center, San Diego, CA

Overview: Hospitals are mandated to have emergency disaster preparedness plans in place. Keeping over 90 UCSD Respiratory Care staff informed of the status of the Medical Center and request to report to work proved to be labor intensive and inefficient. To improve communication with off-site Respiratory Therapists during disasters we evaluated and implemented systems to facilitate group messaging. Methods: We determined that over 70% of our staff had text enabled cell phone plans. Existing on-line programs to facilitate group messaging were evaluated. We selected two readily available web based group messaging programs and configured both Google and Microsoft Outlook to auto route messages to RCPs. The major US cellular carriers use the format for SMS to text capable cell phones, with a limit of 160 characters in the subject and message body (total). User lists were developed to identify specific shifts; sites; and an all user list for all staff covering both sites. By doing so, we are able to contact staff depending upon what emergency event has taken place. This process is as simple as placing an email which notifies all users on the distribution lists which have been created. Results: All staff provided consent to notify them through this process during an emergency situation. In a situation in which a major catastrophic event occurred, 78 employees would receive notification and direction that takes less than 2 minutes to transcribe and send out to these individuals. In drill situations, this program has resulted in decreasing the time spent on phone calls. Employees have been responsive to this form of communication. Conclusion: Developing mass distribution texting lists and incorporating this process as part of your department disaster preparedness plans improves efficiency during urgent situations and events. It also provides a mechanism to update staff instantly on the disaster. This process was so efficient and effective that we carried it over to our every day staffing module to recruit additional staff or offer employees the day off. The few remaining staff not on cell phone text programs require traditional calling. Sponsored Research - None